Tom Wesselmann (1931 - 2004)
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An American artist associated with the pop art movement, Tom Wesselmann attended Hiram College and then transferred to major in Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. In 1952, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, but spent his service years stateside. During that time, Wesselmann became interested in pursuing a career in cartooning. After his discharge, he completed his psychology degree in 1954, and then began to study drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. In 1956, he was accepted into Cooper Union, where he continued his studies in art. Wesselmann admired and was influenced by artists, such as Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning, but soon rejected action painting. Wesselmann became one of the founding members of the Judson Gallery and taught art at a public school in Brooklyn, and later at the High School of Art and Design. He received his first bout of attention from his series Great American Nude (begun 1961). Although he is seen as a pop artist, Wesselmann never liked his inclusion in American Pop Art by claiming that he made an aesthetic use of everyday objects and not a criticism of them. Wesselmann worked in painting, sculpture, and collage.